Pipeline Safety

RRC's Oversight & Safety Program, ensuring compliance with safety regulations while promoting public safety & awareness

Pipeline Safety ANNOUNCEMENTS

Notice to Oil & Gas and Pipeline Operators: Weather Emergency Preparedness Standards


September 19, 2022

On August 30, 2022, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) adopted 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §3.66, relating to Weather Emergency Preparedness Standards. The new rule implements changes made by Senate Bill 3, the 87th Legislature's sweeping response to the February 2021 Winter Weather Event ("Winter Storm Uri") in Texas, and generally creates a new law related to preparing for, preventing, and responding to weather emergencies and power outages. The rule is effective September 19, 2022.

The new rule applies to operators of gas supply chain facilities that are included on the electricity supply chain map created under Texas Utilities Code §38.203 and are designated as critical by the RRC in 16 TAC §3.65 (relating to Critical Designation of Natural Gas Infrastructure). Underground natural gas storage facilities and natural gas processing facilities are considered gas supply chain facilities.

The rule also applies to operators of gas pipeline facilities that are included on the electricity supply chain map and directly serve a natural gas electric generation facility operating solely to provide power to the electric grid for the ERCOT power region or for the ERCOT power region and an adjacent power region. If a facility is not included on the map, the requirements of new 16 TAC §3.66 do not apply to the facility.

An operator of facilities that are included on the electricity supply chain map will receive confidential correspondence from the RRC notifying the operator of the list of facilities contained on the map later this month.

To view the full notice, visit the RRC website at https://www.rrc.texas.gov/media/tizaoozk/2022-nto-weather-emergency-preparedness-standards.pdf.

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The Oversight and Safety Division has responsibility for Alternative Fuels, Gas Services and Pipeline Safety.  This reorganization in January 2015 will bring even greater efficiency and consistency to these operations within the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), allowing the agency to better serve the state.

Texas has the largest pipeline infrastructure in the nation, representing about 1/6 of the total pipeline mileage of the entire United States. Texas’ pipelines are divided into the categories of natural gas and LP-gas distribution lines, hazardous liquid and natural gas transmission lines, hazardous liquid and natural gas regulated gathering lines, intrastate production and gathering lines leaving a lease, and interstate lines. The RRC has safety responsibility over the first four categories.

Pipelines that cross between states are considered Interstate and would be under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) - Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The PHMSA southwest regional office located in Houston covers Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The Pipeline Safety department works to enforce compliance with federal and state laws and regulations by pipeline operators. These regulatory responsibilities extend to  operators of intrastate gathering, transmission, distribution, and master-metered systems. The RRC  continues to lead the nation in adopting and enforcing safety rules to enhance the integrity of pipelines throughout the state.

Pipeline Safety rules administered by the RRC are adopted in the Texas Administrative Code, containing State specific requirements and incorporates by reference the minimum Federal safety standards for transportation of gas and hazardous liquids by pipeline and liquefied natural gas facilities.

The RRC  also promotes and enforces an underground pipeline damage prevention program for Texas. The Pipeline Safety department is responsible for the enforcement of damage prevention regulations involving the movement of earth (excavation) surrounding pipeline facilities.

The goal of the Pipeline Safety department is to encourage an efficient, economical, and safe pipeline industry; to that end, we oversee pipeline activities to ensure compliance with state and federal safety regulations and promote public safety and awareness.

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